22 October 2013

Bruce Schneier: The security mirage

Evidently, we respond to the feeling of security but not the reality of security. This is usually good but sometimes we feel secure but really are not. This is bad.

Bruce Schneier: The security mirage

17 October 2013

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

Worthiness is the difference between those who have a strong sense of love and belonging and those who do not. Ways we cope with vulnerability: 
  • Numb emotions
  • Medicate to compensate for numbed emotions
  • Eliminate uncertainty (e.g. religion is not longer discussed but is fought over 'matter of factly')
  • Blame (i.e. the discharge of pain and discomfort)
  • Pretend our choices do not impact others
Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

08 October 2013

Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

Goldacre presents some quick ways to identify when information is being with held, especially in medical studies.

Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

04 October 2013

How you tie your shoes; and why it matters

How do you ties your shoes? More importantly, how many different ways can you tie your shoes? (No, double knotting does not count as a different way of tying your shoes.) I have asked this question of many people and have found a common trend: most people only know one way and no one I have asked knows more than two ways.

Who cares? Well, you should. Most people who only know one way of tying their shoes have not learned additional ways because: either they assume that they were taught the most efficient method as a youth or they spend so much time focusing on other areas of their life that they have not taken time to refine one of the most basic components of their life.

To be honest, it was quite shocking to me the first time I learned another way to tie my shoes. It was shocking because I had never before supposed that there could be a different way to tie shoes. Shoe laces are such a basic component, and tying them such a basic routine, of daily life that it seemed trivial to address the methods again, later in life.

This being written, however, I wish to point out the number of times that untied shoes how hampered an activity. Consider the poor sportsman who has to stop mid-game to tie his shoes or the hiker who has to either stop the hiking part or run to catch up after retying her laces. In either case, a few minutes spent learning a more efficient and secure way of tying laces could have prevented the momentary loss of enjoyment.

Why am I writing about this? Because single knot tying knowledge often means that the individual has stopped learning new ways of living life in general. In other words, most adults have a singular method for each routine life activity and rarely try new and different ways of doing the same old things. It makes sense though. Why learn something new when the old way seems perfectly fine.

The answer, for me at least, is simple. We should be ever learning in case there is a better way to live. Though I would not advocate spending so much time learning that one wastes their life endlessly learning about the same thing (I do not have to eat every fish to know I do not like seafood) but one should at least try a variety and revisit the topic every often.

Learning new things can contribute to overall life satisfaction and even generate happiness by stimulating the mind and adding variety to life. And, who knows: maybe you will learn a better way to do things.

As a side note, I recognize that life should not be all about efficiency but investing energy in being efficient allows the background noise of daily maintenance to fall into the background, which in turn allows us to focus on the business of living.

So, get a little outside your comfort zone and learn a new way of doing something you have been doing for a while. You might learn a better way to tie your shoes or you might find a new reason to appreciate your current methods.

01 October 2013

Taking notes in a new era

Since notification of the demise of Catch (some of the most fantastic note taking software for Android, iOS and the web) I went hunting for a replacement. I tried the ever popular Evernote, but was somewhat underwhelmed.  What I loved most about Catch was the ease of creation, editing and syncing of notes. Evernote has to be paid to use some of its better features and the PC software looked too scary, so I continued my search. Then I found Microsoft's OneNote. OneNote is a brilliant, free note taking software that I wished I had had when I was still in school. And, it works in all the same places as Catch plus the OneNote application is included in most flavors of Microsoft Office. So for anyone looking for good note apps, try OneNote.

Why did I write this? Because, as I was writing an essay in OneNote, I realized that since I switched to OneNote, I have never looked back (something I did frequently with Evernote). So I figured I should share my computing discovery with the world.

The end.